The work-life quiz with Peter Crisp


Peter Crisp
Organisation: BPP Law School
Title: Chief executive
Lives: Bloomsbury during the week, Northamptonshire at the weekends
Education: Wellingborough School, Northamptonshire; King’s College London; the Inns of Court School of Law
Work history: 1994: Called to the bar
1994: Pupillage and practice at 11 Stone Buildings
1997: Lecturer, BPP Law School
1999: Head of BVC
2000: Head of GDL
2002: Director of vocational training
2003: Chief executive

What was your first-ever job?
Delivering the post at Christmas for the Royal Mail.

What was your worst experience as a pupil?
Sitting on a train bound for Brentwood and realising on studying the paperwork more closely that I should have been on a train to Brentford.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
The reception desk and porter’s lodge.

What time do you usually leave the office?
I try to leave by 8pm.

What do you do at weekends?
Ride, read, admire the garden and play with Arthur and Henry, our new dachshund puppies.

What’s your favourite restaurant?
Da Fiore, the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Venice.

If you weren’t a lawyer what would you have been?
A gardener.

Who’s your hero and why?
My pupil master Nigel Thomas, who taught me that true courage is grace in adversity.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Hearing students laugh at my jokes and realising that they might be learning something.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
Not being able to teach anywhere near as much as I would like.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Dithering about whether to go to the bar after university. Procrastination has few rewards.

What car do you drive?
I don’t. My partner drives a Vauxhall Astra, which now smells of dog.

What book are you currently reading?
Henry James’ Letters from the Palazzo Barbaro and The Bride’s House by Dawn Powell.

What’s on your CD player at the moment?
Recordings of music by Jan Dismas Zelenka.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
Five Go To Smuggler’s Top by Enid Blyton.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you’ve worked on and why?
A boundary dispute on a large, boggy farm in Kent, from which I learnt the importance of a sense of perspective and the value of wellies on a site visit.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take?
A case of Dom Ruinart champagne and Henry and Arthur. I know that’s three, but I can’t have favourites among the dogs.

What’s the worst conference location you’ve attended and why?
Chelsea Football Club. I loathe football.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
36 hours.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?
Rupert Everett. So tall, good-looking and sophisticated, people might be fooled…

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
Cruella de Vil. For the obvious reasons for any dog lover.